February 07, 2023

Why this sound is the first warning of an ear infection

Why this sound is the first warning of an ear infection
Dr. Chris Brown

There's no need for that sad face. You see, I don’t reckon you need to be a vet to know when an ear infection is about to hit. Nor do you need to lift that ear flap and peek a look at the confusing tunnels inside. It all comes down to one unique sound…


If there’s one subtle design flaw in those incredibly adorable ear flaps, it’s that they almost act like a lid. A lid that locks in all the wax, warmth and humidity that the bugs love. In fact, it’s why dogs with cute floppy ears experience way more infections than dogs with more open ear canals.

But when that perfect storm of conditions that can lead to ear infections hits, you need to have your own ears open to the tell-tale signs.

Otherwise, the pain of otitis can occur…even overnight.

There’s one sound however, that occurs before the rest. You see, because that ear will begin to become warm and itchy as the bacteria (or yeast) grow, dogs and cats will start to paw at the sore ear. But the thing is, they’re not great with their aim. So that back foot often hits their collar.

That’s when, late at night, you’ll hear that ‘tinkle’ sound of their collar tag jingling. The shaking of their head occurs soon after which leads to even more night time noise.

And it’s that ‘tinkle’ that should tell you the bugs are starting to multiply…

Detect it early enough and you might just be able to flush the wax and the bugs breeding in it, out of the ear canal with a gentle cleanser like my Ear De-Gunker. Before the pain and swelling really hits. Otherwise, you may get to the more dramatic stage where antibiotics are required.

The Ear De-Gunker
The Ear De-Gunker

Prevention is obviously the best strategy here so a twice weekly clean to remove that gunk and ensure those ear canals are dry will make a massive difference. No-one needs that night time tinkle in their life!

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